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Old September 19th, 2013, 08:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: West Richland, WA
Posts: 4
Hello from Tri-Cities, WA

Hi there. I'm a full-time children's music artist/entertainer from the Tri-Cities, WA area (southeast part of the state). I've had some decent success with YouTube (40+ million views) and I've been given some funding to make a series this winter for my YouTube channel.

I've done some video work before, but I'm very much still a novice in that regard, so I'm here to learn more about what to do (before I do it) and also to get some suggestions for camera/equipment (before I buy anything).

I have a good vision of what I want to create, and I'm currently working on the scripts and storyboards. I have extensive audio editing experience and a fair amount of video editing experience, so once the footage is on my computer, I'll feel pretty comfortable working with it. But getting the footage into the camera with decent quality, within the (fairly minimal) budget I have, is more of the challenge and the main reason I'm here.
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Old September 19th, 2013, 10:37 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 849
Re: Hello from Tri-Cities, WA

Hi Eric, and welcome aboard. There is lots of good information already here as you probably have already found out.

So, that was a good introduction and there is enough about your project for getting started with us asking some questions:

1. Venue: will it be in a typical classroom? Or will it vary a lot? Reason for this question is about lighting and audio. Indoor or outdoor? HVAC systems? Outside noises (aircraft, trains, traffic, people next door)?

2. Audio: How important will the audio be? Typical you tube (use the mic on the camera) or did you want something better (camera mounted mic)? Or a lot better (mics in close proximity to the sound source)? Will there be narration or voice-over? It's been said that 2/3 rds of good video is good audio so this may be an important budget item. There are some pretty good cheap cameras but the same isn't true with audio.

3. Gear: What, if anything, do you have for gear already? Even XLR cables, lighting, reflectors, backdrops, tripod(s), booms for mics, etc.?

4. Computer stuff: what applications do you plan to use? Will the files be exported only to youtube or would they be exported on media?

5. Growth plans: Any plans for the future beyond youtube?

6. Lighting: indoors or outdoors? Room lighting (tungsten, fluorsent, LED, halogen?) Do you have a lighting kit available? Reflectors available (f.e., like Westcott, etc.)?

Maybe I got a little carried away but a bit more information would be really helpful.

By the way, that's an impressive about of hits. Also, it's good to read that you're doing a storyboard - it seems a lot of people don't think about that.
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Old September 20th, 2013, 10:15 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: West Richland, WA
Posts: 4
Re: Hello from Tri-Cities, WA

Hi, John. I had included more information in my other post here: Video novice looking for multi-cam and lighting for YT series ($3,000 budget) But nobody seems to be responding to that, so I probably should have just put it all in my introduction here. Anyway, to answer your questions...

1. Most of the live footage will be in a rented hall space, not huge... I think it's a 40x30 room... which will include three set areas; one wall/area will be a green screen/floor; one area will be a newsroom/game show type of set; and one area will be for miscellaneous sets that will change as needed. Seems to be very quiet and away from outside noise. I will also be filming some outside segments now and then at various locations, but by and large, most things will be done in that room.

2. Audio is very important to me, so yes I will want to get some additional microphones. I have several nice condenser/ribbon mics for audio/music recording... those will certainly work great for narration/VO (e.g., the EV RE20), but probably not as far as capturing live dialogue and sound for video. Or maybe they could work for that? I'm not really sure. But I do intend to get what I need as far as microphones, so as you say a "pretty good cheap camera" might work, as long as it has a mic input or I can source the sound recording elsewhere.

3. I have several XLR cables, a few basic muslin backdrops and a couple of tripods, but I think that's about it as far as equipment. I do have a Panasonic DVX100 camera that I've used in the past for some footage, but I feel like I'm looking to start from scratch with two matching HD cameras, and ones that are a little more novice-friendly (though ideally with the option for manual settings and lenses). I was able to use the DVX100 well enough, and some of the footage I got from it turned out good (despite myself, I think), but I felt like it was above my filming expertise as far as getting the best out of it. That being said, whatever I end up getting I'll do a lot of testing with, and learn what I can this fall before shooting this winter.

4. I have Sony Vegas 12 and have used the Vegas programs quite a lot for video editing. I have a new custom PC from ADK built particularly for video editing. For audio I use a combination of Cakewalk Sonar and Adobe Audition. YouTube is the main target for this, but eventually I might like to release a DVD collection of some or all of the series.

5. Again, YouTube is the main target of this series, but I do have an arrangement with a local cable provider that they might show some segments as interstitials, or possibly run the whole show at some down times. And certainly, using the whole thing as a demo to pitch to cable networks is a peripheral intention of this project. But with my limited budget (and limited expertise), if the overall quality is considered "great" for YouTube, but not really broadcast quality otherwise, I can accept that, and I'm going into the project with that in mind. If the quality is also good enough beyond YouTube, that would be terrific. But it's not absolutely essential.

6. I'm starting from scratch as far as lighting. Something that would work well for a basic indoor set is what I'll need, as well as reflectors and such for outdoors.

I should mention that while I have additional money for some other aspects of the project (space rental, costumes, animation, etc.), the specific equipment budget I have is about $3,000. So for that, I need a couple of decent cameras, a basic lighting setup, and whatever other miscellaneous things I'd need (microphones, reflectors, etc.). I can probably push that above $3,000 a little bit, say $3,000 plus tax, but that's the target number for that.

I've usually done storyboarding for my music videos, so I know the importance of that. You can always ad-lib in the moment, or try some different things than what's on the page, but having the structure and vision of what shots you want ahead of time can be crucial.

Thanks so much for your response, John! Any suggestions/recommendations will be greatly appreciated.
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Old September 20th, 2013, 12:53 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 849
Re: Hello from Tri-Cities, WA

Hi Eric - Thanks for the update. I'm kinda surprised a little bit in the lack of replies because, it seems, usually there are quite a few when someone posts about recommendations/suggestions for equipment.

Part of the problem, though, with regard to this post is, it is a "Welcome Aboard" kinda post and as people scan down the titles they fly past it. Since you're in WA (big Washington, not little washington), I stopped to read what you had to say. With the link you provided I'll jump over there (it is a better location) and repost this and write more. Maybe this will help develop more action?

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Old October 1st, 2013, 07:55 AM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Basingstoke UK
Posts: 43
Re: Hello from Tri-Cities, WA

Hi Eric,

This sounds an exciting and challenging task but where to start. I guess you must get as much detail down on paper as possible. In order to make clear what you have to do, set out your script with each page divided into two columns with the spoken text/dialogue on the right and all the technical stuff on the left. When you set this out on a word processor DON'T use the column formatting to create your columns, use a table. If you use columns you will find it almost impossible to get the technical directions on the left to line up with the corresponding dialogue on the right, particularly when you edit or change the text. Keep working at your script, visualising each segment and fine tuning it as you go getting as much detail down on paper as possible.

Remember, shooting a TV show is like eating and elephant - you can only do it small pieces. So break the script down into scenes and then discrete sequences of shots within each scene.

During this process you will start getting the feel of how to manage/direct your camera(s). Try and get hold of two cameras, ideally the same model, to avoid colour discrepancies. If you keep one camera, locked off on a wide shot and a second camera with an operator picking up relevant close-ups, you can make a reasonably professional job of things. I shot a complete series of cookery programmes using this technique in a couple of days. Using two cameras like this, (which should roll without stopping for an entire sequence), makes editing relatively simple. If you can manage a third camera and a second operator, you can place the operated cameras either side of the fixed camera and get complimentary close-ups.

One of the cameras should have the main audio and the other two can just pick up audio from their integral mics. The integral audio is just for synch purposes when you come to edit. The easiest way to deal with the audio is to use personal (lavalier) mics - one for each presenter/performer. You are not working in an acoustically treated studio so this is the best solution. You can either use an audio mixer if you have an operator or record each mic individually, as a separate channel on a camera.

Lighting can be extremely time consuming and I would go for flooding the place with soft light, The pros may disagree here, but you will not have the time and the budget to do a full lighting plot. Get some 8ft by 4 ft sheets of polystyrene board, duct tape them to pairs of steps and bounce a 2K Blonde off each diagonally across the set. If you cannot get professional lights, your local hardware store will probably have working lights on stands using dual 400 watt strip bulbs. Get yourself two or three of these.

You mentioned using green screen. This is not for the faint hearted and requires special lighting. There is a post on the forum devoted to this.

Overall do as much preparation as possible.

I hope this helps
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